By 13 July 2010 | Categories: news


Now that 3D video content has begun to find its way into living rooms the world over consumers are beginning to embrace this fledgling technology by purchasing costly 3D enabled LCD and LED television panels, readying themselves for the next wave in home entertainment.

What few currently realise is that they are not purchasing true 3D enabled technology and that the stereoscopic imagery which companies like Sony and Samsung are peddling as three dimensional may be hazardous to your health.

What is Stereoscopic 3D?

Stereoscopy, also referred to as 3D imaging, simply enhances dual 2D planes of vision in order to create an illusion of depth. Each plane gives a slightly different perspective of the same image, tricking the brain into believing that the image is in three dimensions.

The success of this technology on 3D television sets is very much dependant on viewing angle, the ability of the 3D scanner within the device to detect and display stereoscopic images, distance from the screen and bifocal vision on the viewers part.

What many consumers today do not realise is that this technology has been around since 1838 and was used for entertainment purposes. This means that the innovative technology used in modern LCD and LED panels is over 160 years old, although it has been drastically improved and adapted in that time.

Health risks

What many consumers are not aware of is that some 3D television manufacturers have now updated their terms of usage to indicate that viewing 3D content may be hazardous to one’s health.

Sony recently posted this warning on its Playstation Network terms of service:

Some people may experience discomfort (such as eye strain, eye fatigue or nausea) while watching 3D video images or playing stereoscopic 3D games on 3D televisions. If you experience such discomfort, you should immediately discontinue use of your television until the discomfort subsides.”

Sony “recommends that all viewers take regular breaks while watching 3D video or playing stereoscopic 3D games. The length and frequency of necessary breaks may vary from person to person. Please take breaks that are long enough to allow any feelings of discomfort to subside. If symptoms persist, consult a doctor.”

“The vision of young children (especially those under six years old) is still under development. SCEA recommends that you consult your doctor (such as a pediatrician or eye doctor) before allowing young children to watch 3D video images or play stereoscopic 3D games. Adults should supervise young children to ensure they follow the recommendations listed above.

Samsung, which currently manufactures 3D enabled LED televisions, recently posted this warning on its website:

“Viewing in 3D mode may also cause motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain, and decreased postural stability. It is recommended that users take frequent breaks to lessen the likelihood of these effects. If you have any of the above symptoms, immediately discontinue use of this device and do not resume until the symptoms have subsided” adding that “we do not recommend watching 3D if you are in bad physical condition, need sleep or have been drinking alcohol.”

Although the long term health risks associated with the usage of stereoscopic imagery in 3D enabled television panels have not yet been scientifically proven, it is somewhat disconcerting that manufacturers are issuing such grave warning regarding its usage.


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